MY NAME IS AMANDA FRENCH. My family name French, I believe says it all. We, the French women, were born to wear elegant clothing and accessories, the finer brocades and silks, fluid and cool, raw dupioni and nubby shantung, the texture that is pure sex to the hand that appreciates.
All the women in my family have some sense of the future and will tell you what it holds; and even before I was sure what it was, I knew I had it, the power to see. My grandmother, a healer, could interpret the sky; predict weather patterns, upcoming anomalies, drought, that sort of thing. My sister read hands; tiny crooked lines leading up and down, front to back, thumb to wrist, are the roads she helps to navigate. My aunt could read dreams and tell an expectant mother the sex of her unborn baby. My great grandmother could heal “troublesome ailments” and call out evil spirits from the sick, the overlooked, and cursed alike. And her mother, my great great grandmother before her, was known to associate with ghosts, the spirits that have passed over but not before promising to return and tell all, which they did by channeling through her in different languages. Her sister, my great aunt, could tell you the day and time of your birth and the day and time of your death.
Sometimes I know the future in my breast. Sometimes I see the future coming out like a picture show, images that seep into your head the way rainwater collects in a basement corner, gathering from no place in particular. More often though, I see events in tea leaves, little bits of myself floating to the top of a shapely Spode china cup, tentatively
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dancing along the fragile gold leaf rim like your last memories in the few minutes before death. Often as I would stare down into my tomorrow, wondering if I should drink the brew or run to the sink and pour it down the drain, I would often do the latter. It’s not that a particular vision was so frightening or alien—I grew up after all with these gifted women around me conversing with entities neither you nor I could see—it’s just the memory of seeing trouble early in a courtship and remembering what it felt like, one lone tear snaking down my face, and my words all square and neat as I told him, “I love you but… I see no future.” Or, I did see a future and there was no happiness in it. But, with this man, with Reed, I never saw a blessed thing. I never saw anything at all in the beginning. If I had, it would have been as shocking I’m sure as seeing blood on the moon. I guess it’s true what they say, that you never see the bus that hits you.
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